Florence’s ‘Community Freedge’ provides food for those in need as food costs rise

Florence Community Freedge
Florence Community Freedge(Western Mass News photo)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 4:53 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FLORENCE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Amid rising grocery costs, a community resource in Florence is helping people in need of food in a unique way.

Along the bike trail in Florence is something that may seem out of place – a refrigerator.

“We see that the food that goes there leaves really quickly,” said Northampton Community Freedge Co-Founder Shanna Fishel. “We never see items there for too long.”

Fishel co-founded the “Northampton Community Freedge” over the pandemic. It is a fridge and pantry filled with free food.

“It’s a give-and-take share model, so anyone can come to the fridge,” she said. “We also have a pantry that is useful. You can get food, you can share food, and it’s really just accessible 24/7.”

Inside Florence's Community Freedge
Inside Florence's Community Freedge(Western Mass News photo)

One gentleman, who did not want to appear on camera, stopped by on his bike to pick up a can of soup. He told us that without this resource, he and many others would not be able to make ends meet with the rising costs of groceries.

“I think people are more aware of the cost of food, so they’re more willing to give any leftover food that they might have in the fridge,” Fishel told us.

Western Mass News has learned neighbors extend the use of electricity for the fridge and the organization covers the cost. Donations of fresh food and pantry items are available anytime, with the ultimate goal of decreasing waste and leveling the playing field.

You can find the fridge where the bike trail intersects with Straw Avenue in Florence. Fishel also told us that work is underway to bring a community fridge to Springfield.